A morgue attendant works in the medical examiner’s office or the morgue, assisting the medical examiner or the pathologist. The attendant washes, dries, measures and positions the body. In addition, the morgue attendant maintains records, prepares surgical equipment and supplies and keeps the autopsy room organized and clean.
The minimum education for a morgue attendant is a high school diploma or the equivalent, according to Yale University. The morgue position requires the individual to prepare embalming solutions and measure the body. High-school-level courses can provide the attendant with the basic education to perform these duties. Morgue attendants may pursue higher education to advance in the field.
Attendants obtain an education in morgue procedures through on-the-job training. The employer has the opportunity to train the entry-level attendant to perform the morgue tasks in a preferred manner. For example, the medical examiner’s office may have specific requirements for maintaining morgue records, signing in bodies, inventorying equipment and supplies and sterilizing work areas.
Knowledge and Skill Requirements
A morgue attendant must be knowledgeable in maintaining the custody of evidence and the personal effects of the deceased. He must have good clerical skills to maintain morgue records and knowledge of biology, chemistry and mathematics to work in the position. A morgue attendant should have good communication skills to maintain records and work with professionals in the field.
While a degree is not necessary for a position as a morgue attendant, an education in funeral services can prepare the assistant for a career in the field. An Associate of Applied Science degree in funeral services includes courses such as chemistry, funeral services anatomy, medical terminology, sociology and psychology. The degree can prepare a student who has gained experience as a morgue attendant to work in an advanced position, such as an autopsy technician or a pathology assistant.